Now that this year’s annual Hamtramck Labor Day Festival has wrapped up, it’s time to once again ponder its future.
First of all, the lead organizers of the festival, Shannon Lowell and Konrad Maziarz, deserve praise for their hard work and donation of their personal time – without compensation – to put this event together.
A big thanks also goes out to the dozens of volunteers who also work tirelessly – and also for free – to make sure the festival is cleaned and staffed.
It’s no easy task putting together a festival of this size.
But we have to ask if the city should continue to rely on volunteers to organize this festival. Most other cities take ownership of their festivals or hire someone, or some company, to run it.
We have floated the idea of once again hiring a part-time special events coordinator to help with this and other city events.
Or, how about actually compensating the current organizers?
We can’t continue to expect volunteers to do this amount of work for free.
The city has a whole year to think this one through.
It might be we don’t change a thing and continue to plug along with all volunteers.
Yet if they choose to step away midway through the year – what then?
Do we value this festival? Or have we become fatigued with it? It’s time for a serious discussion on where to go from here.
One thing that is agreed on is that the festival gives the city a tremendous boost in public relations. That is certainly worth something.